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Goal-Driven Proposal Process

Achieving goals can be more important than following procedures for winning

While every proposal process has goals, most are procedure-driven. Their focus is on completing steps.

Lately I've been having great success in challenging environments by implementing goal-driven processes instead of procedure-driven processes. In fact, I'm thinking about reorganizing the entire MustWin Process around it.

A goal-driven process gives following the steps a lower priority than fulfilling the goals. Let that sink in. The steps in the process can be optional.

A goal-driven proposal process turns things from a set of mandated procedures into something that helps people achieve their goals

It is far easier to get people to agree on a handful of goals. Once everyone agrees on the goals, then we can talk steps. And what usually ends up happening is that people choose to follow the steps because they are the best way to achieve the goals. People resist procedures that are forced on them. But they'll choose the path of least resistance to achieve their goals.

This has the effect of turning process from a burden into an asset. The right process accelerates people's ability to pursue their goals while increasing the reliability of achieving them. Once someone accepts a goal, if you offer them a faster, more reliable way to achieve it, they tend to go for it.

See also:
Successful process implementation

The most important part is how you define the goals. "Writing a proposal" is not a good goal. A better goal would be "Writing a proposal that fulfills the instructions and quality criteria of the Proposal Content Plan." But remember, you only want a handful of goals. So you can't simply convert every step in your process to goals.

But you can make all of your goals require success from the previous goal. This is not a trick. It accurately reflects the reality of what it takes to win a proposal. In many ways, all you are doing is defining what must be accomplished at a high level to win.  

When you do this successfully, it implies what people must do in order to achieve the goals and accomplish what it will take to win.

Only instead of implementing that as a procedural mandate and trying to compel or cajole people to follow it, you implement it as a set of goals and offer some techniques to help them achieve their goals. If they fail to achieve their goals, it's their failure. It's not a contest over whether they followed orders or who has the authority to issue orders.

That just leaves getting everyone to agree on the goals. That's why you only want a handful of them. Ideally, you want everyone to be able to memorize them. I like to preface each goal with a 1- to 2-word soundbite that people will remember.

All you need to ask people to do is agree to the goals. You can even confidently challenge them to point out any goals that are not necessary to accomplish what it will take to win. It starts by asking "Can we all just agree on these six goals... ?"


Premium content for PropLIBRARY Subscribers. For PropLIBRARY Subscribers, we have documented the six goals we recommend for producing a proposal based on what it will take to win. We've also mapped these goals to the CapturePlanning.com MustWin Process, and turned it into a framework you can download to turn the process into something that will help people achieve the goals.
Let's discuss your challenges with preparing proposals and winning new business...

Access to premium content items is limited to PropLIBRARY Subscribers

A subscription to PropLIBRARY unlocks hundreds of premium content items including recipes, forms, checklists, and more to make it easy to turn our recommendations into winning proposals. Subscribers can also use MustWin Now, our online proposal content planning tool.

Carl Dickson

Carl is the Founder and President of CapturePlanning.com and PropLIBRARY

Carl is an expert at winning in writing, with more than 30 year's experience. He's written multiple books and published over a thousand articles that have helped millions of people develop business and write better proposals. Carl is also a frequent speaker, trainer, and consultant and can be reached at carl.dickson@captureplanning.com. To find out more about him, you can also connect with Carl on LinkedIn.

Click here to learn how to engage Carl as a consultant.

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